The highest office does not belong to a person, but rather the legislation itself. Specifically, sovereignty belongs to the divine legislative sources including the Quran, the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (saw), Ijma as sahaba (consensus of the companions) and Qiyas (analogy), i.e. the revelation. The Khaleefah (Caliph) is accountable for implementing the law and is not above the law. As a result, human beings are forbidden from legislating and implementing laws that are favourable to their own interests or desires. This includes seeking lenient sentences for the wealthy or elite classes.
Proofs: How does Islam prevent the elite influencing legislation or policy?
Human beings are limited, so when they make laws, they are prone to disparity, differences, contradictions and being influenced by the environment. Take, for example, the Communist Party in China. They thought that the “One Child Policy” would reduce the strain on resources. However, the policymakers were not God and so it’s no surprise that their policy ended in disaster. The immediate impact was a return to 7th-century tribal practices. The Chinese engaged in female infanticide – much like the Arabs did at the time Prophet Muhammad (saw); a practice attacked through the Quran:
“And when the girl [who was] buried alive is asked, for what sin she was killed” [TMQ 81:8-9]
Due to this, the ratio of men to women is unbalanced, so it's hard for a man to find a wife and start a family. But that's not the only thing that is unbalanced. This policy will cause one-third of the population to be 60+, thereby "putting [a] severe strain on state services and the children who bear the brunt of caring for elderly relatives." In other words, there is insufficient youth to support the older generation.
On the issue of killing children due to lack of resources, Allah (swt) revealed:
“And do not kill your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin.” [TMQ 17:31]
As most have heard, the Chinese government is in the process of exterminating Muslims from China. It's ironic, however, that they would have significantly benefitted had the heeding this verse from the Quran and would not be facing the problems they face today. And to that I would I point to the following verse:
“So which of the favors of your Lord would you deny?” [TMQ 55:13]
Concerning capitalist countries, such as the US, we can see how the “Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission” illustrates the problem of bias and being influenced by the environment. The case ruled “that ruled that political spending by corporations, associations, and labour unions is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment." Without thinking about it, we can see why they made such a decision because the right-wing has a bias in supporting the moneyed class. Why? Allowing corporations to have free speech rights will allow business agenda to dominate. Running political ads are expensive, and they have all the money - hoarding somewhere between $2.4 trillion to $50 trillion.
The decision uses a bit of false-equivalence by including unions. Unions were mostly destroyed by the passage of NAFTA. Kate Bronfenbrenner, an economist from Cornell University, noted that over half of union certification elections were circumvented. How? Management would "warn" that they would shut down plants if the people went ahead and certified the union. So, it's hardly fair to say that both sides have a decent shot: corporations have access to trillions, while unions are fighting for survival.
More broadly, the 99% is broke. 40% of Americans could not survive a sudden expense of $400. And we saw how workers at the federal government had to resort to a food bank. Can such people pool enough funds to get legislation that they want? Of course not; they need to spend any cash to survive. And should such people believe in the system that doesn’t pay attention to their interests? It’s not as if it’s God making the rules. Therefore, it’s natural for the 99% to see this court decision as a scam coated in legalese. More importantly, what it reveals it's impossible to create a system where humans will submit to other humans.
To be clear, this is not about being Chinese, American or Arab. Rather, it’s about the limitations of being human:
"But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not." [TMQ 2:216]
In Islam, the role of the jurist is to make ijtihad (exert effort) to identify the divine solution for a problem – economic, child-planning or otherwise. This is based on the hadith of RasulAllah (saw):
The Prophet gave his companion Mu’adh (ra) instructions for correctly applying Islamic guidance and principles if nothing explicit can be found in the Quran and Sunnah.
Harith ibn Amr reported: Some men among the companions of Mu’adh said the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, sent him to Yemen and the Prophet said: How will you judge?
Mu’adh said, “I will judge according to what is in the Book of Allah.” The Prophet said: What if it is not in the Book of Allah? Mu’adh said, “Then with the tradition (sunnah) of the Messenger of Allah.” The Prophet said: What if it is not in the tradition of the Messenger of Allah? Mu’adh said, “Then I will strive to form an opinion (ijtihad).” The Prophet said: All praise is due to Allah who has made suitable the messenger of the Messenger of Allah.” [Tirmidhi]
Moreover, the Quran is quite clear that ruling must be based on what Allah (swt), the Creator, has revealed:
“Legislation is only for Allah (swt)” [TMQ 12:40]
“And whoever did not judge by what Allah revealed, those are they that are the disbelievers …oppressors… transgressors” [TMQ 5:44,45,47]
Consequently, to be a true Muslim one must submit their will to the Creator and not allow their own desires to dominate their thinking. If a person was to do so, they are deviating from Islam.
In sha Allah, in the next installment, we will look at how Islam mandates a paradigm shift in man’s thinking and how this enables the citizenry to audit the ruler.